One Equal World

Michigan State Employees Deny Services for LGBTs

Posted on: January 24, 2014

Michigan denies LGBTs service

Michigan State employees are required to refuse service to anyone they suspect might be gay.
Image: Shutterstock

Michigan got a whole lot colder earlier this month when news broke that its state employees are required by law to refuse services for gay people. According to Slate, “In Michigan, all you need to change your last name is a marriage license. But when Jesse Sherman, who married his longtime partner Derek Melot in New York last October, presented his license to a state employee, his request was denied.” Apparently in Michigan you just have to appear gay to be denied such a service. The Secretary of State’s office confirmed the discriminatory policy explaining, “anything that would lead the staff person to believe [a marriage certificate] is a same-sex marriage license” would result in a denial of services, reports Slate.

Sadly, this disturbing facet of Michigan’s state-sanctioned anti-LGBT policy comes as no surprise to many. As Slate reports, “In 2004, Michigan voters enshrined homophobia in the state constitution, passing an amendment that forbade the state from legally recognizing any facet of a same-sex relationship.” This mandate prohibits name changes, recognition of unions, and in this case, even extending services to LGBTs.

Geographically, Michigan will soon be one of the only states among the northern Midwestern states that doesn’t recognize same-sex relationships. Freedom to Marry’s Progress in the States map illustrates where same-sex marriages are legal, revealing that Michigan is completely sandwiched by more progressive states like Illinois, Wisconsin, New York, and even Indiana. Even Republican strategist Ken Mehlman is hopeful that states were conservatism rules will soon rally for same-sex marriage recognition. In a recent Wall Street Journal Op-Ed he explains, “Conservatives don’t need to change core convictions to embrace the growing support for equal rights for Gay Americans,” of the momentum that the gay rights movement is gaining for marriage equality.

The recent LGBT discrimination in Michigan is a reminder of how the fight for same-sex marriage recognition in all 50 states is still far from being won.

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